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Electron Charge Density: A Clue from Quantum Chemistry for Quantum Foundations

Sebens, Charles T. (2021) Electron Charge Density: A Clue from Quantum Chemistry for Quantum Foundations. Foundations of Physics, 51 (4). Art. No. 75. ISSN 0015-9018. doi:10.1007/s10701-021-00480-7.

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Within quantum chemistry, the electron clouds that surround nuclei in atoms and molecules are sometimes treated as clouds of probability and sometimes as clouds of charge. These two roles, tracing back to Schrödinger and Born, are in tension with one another but are not incompatible. Schrödinger’s idea that the nucleus of an atom is surrounded by a spread-out electron charge density is supported by a variety of evidence from quantum chemistry, including two methods that are used to determine atomic and molecular structure: the Hartree-Fock method and density functional theory. Taking this evidence as a clue to the foundations of quantum physics, Schrödinger’s electron charge density can be incorporated into many different interpretations of quantum mechanics (and extensions of such interpretations to quantum field theory).

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Additional Information:© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2021. Received 17 February 2021; Accepted 07 June 2021; Published 30 June 2021. Thank you to Craig Callender, Eddy Keming Chen, Scott Cushing, Maaneli Derakhshani, Mario Hubert, Joshua Hunt, Gerald Knizia, Logan McCarty, and Eric Winsberg for helpful feedback and discussion.
Subject Keywords:Electron charge density; Quantum chemistry; Hartree-Fock; Density functional theory; GRW; Many-worlds; Bohmian mechanics
Issue or Number:4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210727-173040478
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Official Citation:Sebens, C.T. Electron Charge Density: A Clue from Quantum Chemistry for Quantum Foundations. Found Phys 51, 75 (2021).
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:110029
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:28 Jul 2021 19:51
Last Modified:15 Sep 2021 22:04

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